I found this website the other day called Mindshift that talks about the latest trends in education and how we learn….and I thought the word was fitting to describe my own experiences at the moment as well as my observations about the world around me.
Photo by Elizabeth Albert/flickr
Education seems to be changing drastically…I look back on my state of mind just a few years ago and realize that I have gone through a mindshift of my own, particularly this year. I used to be great at finding good lesson plans, ideas and resources. I came up with ideas that I loved and we did fun activities…and the students learned things. I haven’t done a complete turn-around, but there has definitely been a shift….I find myself looking more and more at the reasons behind things and thinking theory and big ideas more than fun activities. I haven’t thought about theory for years…it was one of those things you talked about in grad school but then somehow left behind when you actually started the teaching. You left that for the administration and you just did the curriculum and content you were told in as fun a way as you could. Now I end up talking theory all of the time and I haven’t been on my favourite lesson plan sites for ages. I come up with some ideas, but I’m not always sure where they are going to go when they start. My students still learn things. But they have to be able to talk about what they learned, reflect on how they learned it and make their thinking more visible…an answer is not enough anymore.
The other day I tweeted a few links about Innovation Day (something I am looking forward to trying out at some point) and I got a few new people following me who were businessmen. At first I couldn’t figure out why in the world they would want to follow a primary school teacher until I remembered about my earlier tweet and saw that they were passionate about innovation. At first I thought, “They are business people who have nothing to do education, so I doubt they have anything interesting to follow.” But I thought I would double check in case I was wrong and I clicked on a link from one of their tweets. After all, Genius Hour (which I love so much and have previously posted on) stemmed from Daniel Pink’s thoughts about business and we see similar concepts in Google’s 20% and the like…you never know. For the next hour I got sucked into a bunch of articles about business that were actually fascinating. The reason? They were all about the shift in thinking and working…how the information and technology age has changed the way we work in the world, how collaboration and innovation are becoming so important because we no longer are told what to do and do the same job for 30 years. All of these ideas connected with the same ideas and concepts we are discovering and applying in the classroom. One of my colleagues was presenting a PD yesterday and pulled out a business magazine where she found a graph about what top businessmen value the most in employees…the top of the list? Collaboration. Also high up…innovative. Sound familiar? All of a sudden I began to realize that it’s not just an education thing…the world has gone through a mindshift. The reason? Technology and the information age has changed the way we live, learn and work and this is most likely not just a ‘trend’ that will swing back to another more traditional side in a few years, but a different way of doing life.
I began to realise the value in connecting not only with other teachers in the education world, but also expanding my connections and collaboration to learn and share with those in other fields as we go through similar mindshifts.